Aggressive Murray masters Federer

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray clinched his first title of the year with a magnificent straights-set victory over Roger Federer in the final of the Toronto Masters.

The defending champion prevailed 7-5, 7-5 after outlasting the former world No 1 in a match that was severely disrupted by two lengthy rain delays.

When the weather relented it was Murray who forced the issue, his new-found aggressive approach paying dividends against Federer, who seemed strangely subdued despite wresting back the world No2 ranking with his battling victory over Novak Djokovic in his semi-final.

The win improves Murray's record against the Swiss winner of 16 grand slam titles, to seven wins from their 12 meetings. It has taken the Scot some time to recover from his Australian Open defeat by Federer but he looked back to his best in Canada and appears in peak condition as he bids to land his first major title at the US Open which gets under way in two weeks.

Murray started at speed, carrying over the form which saw him sweep aside Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. He claimed 12 of the opening 16 points to twice break the Swiss to go 3-0 up.

Federer looked shellshocked but he rallied to win back one of the breaks before finally managing to hold his serve. Murray maintained his slender advantage to 5-4 but then threw it away as he tried to close out the opening set.

A sloppy game culminated in a double fault as Federer drew level at 5-5 and it looked as though the momentum had swung his way – but then he also showed nerves by instantly opening the door for Murray.

After wasting two break points, the Scot set up a third thanks to a cheeky lob and converted that chance. There were no slip-ups second time round as Murray closed out the opening set in 59 minutes.

The second set went with serve before a downpour halted proceedings with Federer 2-1 up. A 40-minute delay brought them back on court – for all of two points, which allowed Murray to draw level at 2-2.

But this time it was a passing shower and the match soon resumed in bright sunshine. Murray found his range at once, breaking Federer to 15 to claim a 3-2 advantage.

Frustratingly, another deluge forced the players off to the locker rooms after they shared the first four points of the sixth game of the set. This time, after an hour-long delay, it was Federer who came out of the blocks firing, setting up a break point. He converted that after a long exchange which ended when Murray put a tentative volley wide to level it at 3-all.

The match remained on serve until Murray upped the tempo to break for a 6-5 lead. Federer threatened another comeback when he set up a break point but some big serving from Murray saw him escape the jam and he clinched the match at the second attempt – the first squandered with an ill-advised drop shot – when Federer's defensive lob drifted long.

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